Free Consultation: (312) 924-7575
Abels & Annes, P.C. Personal Injury Blog

Who Is At Fault in a Phoenix T-Bone Car Accident?

T-Bone Car Accidents

T-bone accidents (or side-impact collisions) occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle, with the vehicles in the crash forming the shape of a T.

While the vast majority of T-bone accidents occur at intersections, these collisions may also happen when pulling out of a driveway or parking lot. In other words, this type of accident can occur any time a vehicle crashes into another vehicle from perpendicular traffic.

The force of impact in a T-bone car accident puts all drivers and passengers involved at risk for severe injury and death because one vehicle experiences a frontal collision while the other vehicle experiences a collision from the side.

You need to know who caused your accident so you can hold the at-fault party liable for your injuries. Speak with a car accident attorney in Phoenix to discuss your case, prove the other driver’s fault, and secure financial compensation.

What Are the Common Causes of T-Bone Car Accidents?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 23 percent of vehicle occupants die in car accidents after a side-impact crash. Thus, T-bone car accidents and other side-impact collisions account for more than 5,000 deaths annually.

Causes of T-bone car accidents vary greatly from one collision to another. However, some of the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Drivers running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Drivers failing to yield the right of way at an intersection
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while distracted
  • Failing to indicate one’s intention to turn
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Driving in adverse weather conditions (fog, rain, snow, etc.)

No matter what caused the T-bone accident, people involved in the collision can suffer severe injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, determining who is responsible for causing the side-impact accident can be challenging. You might want to discuss your case with a Phoenix car accident lawyer to determine liability for the T-bone collision.

Who Is at Fault in T-Bone Car Accidents?

There are different scenarios in which a T-bone car accident may occur.

Below is the breakdown of right-of-way rules and possible determination of fault in different kinds of side-impact collisions:

  • Accidents at a controlled intersection. If the intersection has traffic signals and signs, drivers must obey those signals and signs before entering the intersection. If a driver has a green light, they have the right of way and may enter the intersection first. However, if there were no witnesses, it could be difficult to prove that you had the right of way and the other driver was driving against a red light. According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly a third of all motorists say they ran a red light in the past 30 days.
  • Accidents at an uncontrolled intersection. According to traffic rules, drivers must yield the right of way to vehicles already in the intersection. In other words, the driver who arrived first has the right-of-way. However, if two vehicles reach the uncontrolled intersection at roughly the same time, drivers must yield the right of way to a vehicle on their right.
  • U-turns across traffic. A driver who wants to make a U-turn across traffic must yield to all vehicles in oncoming traffic. Failure to do so may lead to a T-bone accident. In this case, the driver who makes a U-turn is usually at fault.
  • Accidents in parking lots. T-bone accidents in parking lots may happen when a driver leaves a parking space or hits a vehicle in the perpendicular aisle. All drivers must remain vigilant and obey traffic control markings in a parking lot.
  • Accidents that occur when leaving a driveway. Drivers leaving a driveway must yield the right of way to all vehicles that approach them before entering the roadway. A driver should not enter the roadway unless the nearest vehicle is a safe distance away to perform the maneuver.
  • Left-turns across traffic. Many T-bone accidents occur when a driver is making a left turn. At uncontrolled intersections, the driver who makes a left turn is usually at fault for causing the collision with a vehicle from oncoming traffic. The only exception to the general rule is if the turning driver had the right of way because they had a green turn signal and the other driver ran a red light.

Unfortunately, many T-bone car accidents happen because drivers misjudge the speed or distance of other vehicles. The determination of fault in a T-bone collision depends on many factors involved in the accident. That is why you might want to contact a Phoenix car accident attorney to investigate your collision and help you understand who is at fault for causing the T-bone accident.

Can a Motorist Who Has the Right of Way Be at Fault for a T-Bone Car Accident?

The motorist who does not have the right of way will be held responsible for causing a T-bone car accident in the vast majority of cases. However, in some cases, the motorist who had the right of way may also share fault for the crash. Drivers must operate a vehicle safely and remain vigilant at all times, even when they have the right of way.

In some side-impact collisions, the right who had the right of way may be partially at fault for causing the accident.

Common examples of negligence on the part of the motorist who has the right of way include:

  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Driving at night without headlights
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic in one movement
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to signal one’s intention to turn or change lanes

If you need assistance with determining fault in your T-bone car accident, contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who will thoroughly investigate your case to identify liable parties.

Can a Vehicle Manufacturer Be at Fault for a T-Bone Car Accident?

Some car accidents occur due to vehicle defects. When a T-bone accident occurs because of defective automobile parts, the parties involved in the crash might hold the vehicle manufacturer at fault.

Common vehicle defects that may result in side-impact collisions include steering problems, defective brakes, and faulty accelerators. If brakes are defective, a driver may not stop their vehicle to avoid running a red light. As a result, a T-bone car accident may happen at an intersection.

Often, product liability cases filed against vehicle manufacturers require testimony from accident reconstruction experts to help a judge and juries understand how the accident occurred.

However, accidents involving defective automobile parts may involve several potentially at-fault parties:

  1. The vehicle manufacturer and/or manufacturer of defective vehicle parts;
  2. The driver of the defective vehicle if they failed to properly inspect the vehicle or get routine maintenance; and
  3. The auto mechanic who inspected the vehicle during routine maintenance and failed to notice/fix the problem.

If you suspect that your T-bone accident occurred because of defective vehicle parts, such as faulty brakes, you might want a Phoenix car accident attorney to investigate your crash and help you identify liable parties.

Can Road Engineers Be at Fault for a T-Bone Car Accident?

People who design and build our roads have a demanding challenge: to construct safe roadways after considering hundreds of factors. Some car accidents can result from improper road design, inadequate maintenance, or poor road signs and traffic signals.

These issues can result in devastating collisions, including T-bone car accidents. For example, if a traffic light malfunctions, drivers may have a hard time determining who should have the right of way in their specific situation. If two motorists believe that they have the right of way, an accident is bound to happen.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that more than half of all road accidents that result in injuries and deaths occur at or near intersections. An improperly designed intersection is a disaster waiting to happen. When drivers can prove that their accident was the result of improper road design or faulty traffic signals, they may hold road engineers or government agencies responsible for the resulting crash.

In particular, roads and intersections may have an improper design when:

  • It has inappropriate or contradictory signage or markings
  • It has too many or inadequate points of conflict, which are locations where paths merge, cross, or diverge
  • It has a confusing layout that makes drivers more likely to make mistakes

Proving that a road had an improper design is not an easy task. Even though other drivers can navigate the roadway or intersection safely does not necessarily mean that it is well-designed. A thorough investigation by an experienced car accident attorney will show whether or not road engineers and/or the government can be at fault for your T-bone collision.

How to Prove Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

Proving fault in a T-bone car accident usually requires a comprehensive investigation and/or testimony from accident reconstruction experts, especially if it is not immediately clear who had the right of way.

Often, your ability to prove fault in a T-bone collision-or any other car crash, for that matter – hinges on the strength of your legal case. Your lawyer can help you strengthen your case by gathering all available pieces of evidence that prove the other party’s fault.

Some evidence that may help determine liability for a T-bone car accident includes:

  • A police report that establishes the facts surrounding your T-bone accident
  • Statements provided by witnesses who saw how the accident occurred
  • Photos showing the extent of vehicle damage
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
  • Video footage from surveillance or traffic cameras showing the moment of the collision

Consider contacting a Phoenix car accident attorney to help you prove the other driver’s fault and gather all available pieces of evidence to secure maximum compensation in your case.

What Damages Can You Recover After a T-Bone Car Accident?

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

Depending on the speed and size of the vehicles in a T-bone car accident, victims may suffer catastrophic and debilitating injuries.

Some of the most common types of injuries associated with side-impact collisions include:

If you get injured in a T-bone car accident, you need to understand your options for compensation. Understandably, the crippling medical bills and the inability to work can cause significant financial hardship, which is why you might want to seek compensation by filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit.

Your Phoenix car accident lawyer can help you recover:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • The cost of medical care, including rehabilitation, hospitalization, physical therapy, and others
  • Loss of income
  • Diminished or lost earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

Recoverable damages depend on the severity of your injuries, how many days you missed at work, whether or not you expect to return to your job, the impact of your injury on your emotional well-being, and a plethora of other factors.

Calculating fair compensation requires a thorough understanding of the law and a careful assessment of many factors involved in your T-bone accident. That is why you might want to consider contacting a Phoenix car accident attorney to discuss the circumstances of your crash and determine the value of your legal case.

Having the right legal help can mean the difference between future financial struggles and moving forward with a sense of justice and security.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Client Reviews

★★★★★ I had no trouble reaching my attorney at any time. I was always updated on the case. I could text him, call him, or leave him a message and he would get back to me. Dave
★★★★★ After contacting several law firms, I sent an email to Dave [Abels] and he responded fairly quickly, asked me several questions, and took the case straight away. From there forward, it was simple and easy. Nik
★★★★★ These guys were great to work with. At the end of the day, tough case and all, Abels & Annes helped us get enough to pay our bills and then some. My wife has now recovered and we are able to move forward without the cloud of a huge medical debt. Brett
★★★★★ They were very detailed and communicated well. I felt very secure with professional looking out for my interests. They didn’t talk down to me and explained things in terms I understood. Robin
★★★★★ Everything was pretty smooth and there was a lot of communication between my attorney and myself. I am really happy with my settlement and I got more than what I expected. Arturo
★★★★★ I would give Abels & Annes an A+, a 10, they have far exceeded my expectations. Professional, direct, very educated and very honest. Molly
Read More Client Reviews